01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Expat Stereotypes: - 2. The Two Year Wonder 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Expat Stereotypes: - 2. The Two Year Wonder

Tessa the ‘two year wonder’ has a husband who works for a large multinational corporation and two children who trail around various schools each time they move. They have ‘done’ Dubai and Jo’burg but Nairobi is the most ‘developing’ country that they have ever lived in and it’s taken a bit of getting used to. They are hoping to be posted back to UK in 2009, but fear that it might have to be China next; they will have to wait and see.

Tessa and her husband live on a secure electric fenced compound with other expat neighbours and drive a shiny, new-ish Landcruiser VX. They don’t ‘do’ staff loans because it leads to complication and Tessa has decided that it’s not worth taking Swahili lessons as she’ll be gone before long and probably won’t need to speak Swahili ever again. She does enjoy the school mum’s coffee morning circuit and regular visits to the local club gym followed by a leisurely cup of coffee. She’s thinking about taking up golf so that she can play along side her husband on Saturday mornings.

The house that Tessa and her family live in is furnished but most items belong to the company. They only have an air freight allowance measured in cubic metres at the end of their two year stint, which is a fact worth bearing in mind when tempted by a large dhow wood coffee table or wood carving at the annual Nairobi Christmas Fair.

The whole family greatly look forward to annual visits ‘home’ in the summer (business class flights), where they keep a furnished house full of all of their own belongings, even down to children’s toys and games. They decided not to rent out their house in England to keep the flexibility of being able to pop over and use it whenever the opportunity arises, plus it acts as the perfect base when catching up with family and friends at home. Tessa and the children never go ‘back’ for less than six weeks over the summer holidays and they book their flights out of Kenya for the day that term finishes and try to return the day before. They occasionally get back for Christmas and Easter too, but that depends on whether they have overseas visitors for the holidays or not.

They got a puppy from the KSPCA, as they were worried about ‘security’ when they arrived and thought a dog would be a good idea, but they might take him back because he’s turning out to be a bit of a pest. Other expat friends brought beloved dogs out from England and will put them into six months quarantine before moving back home. Tessa and family want to visit all corners of Kenya before the end of their posting, but try to stick to Serena lodges, as then they know what to expect.

Shopping is limited here as there is little choice and prices are high, so Tessa bulk buys at the Monsoon and Next sales in UK every year.

p.s. There is a little of me in all these stereotypes

p.p.s Next: The Kenya Cowboy

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